Projects don’t have to be totally disrupted by Corona Virus
Covid 19 has become the super disruptor which will affect every project. However, even the effects of this super disruptor can be managed so we don’t have to see our programs crash and burn. This series of blogs will give you some good practice and ideas which may make you think differently about the challenges you face over the next months
How can we think our Covid 19 hit projects better?
With any project disruptor we need a starting point for our response. Our approach is first to understand the disruption. Second, we need to simplify. Now act. Face up to the situation you find yourself in. Whether this is a business continuity issue or staff morale issue or an issue of fear or concern, whatever it is. Try to thoroughly understand the current state We’ve got to get to understand the real issues?
1. Understand the real issues which will disrupt your project
What is it that we are facing? It’s not Covid 19. It is the consequences of the rapidly spreading virus. Our supermarkets for example have plenty of stock but there is an unseasonal growth in demand. This is due in part to people working at home Their children are at home, not at school. There is a radical change in the place where people consume their meals. We no longer have a demand for mass catering but a need to accommodate domestic catering. Add to this the emotional response of those who feel the need to stockpile. Over a matter of weeks supermarkets well designed systems of delivery to the consumer are inadequate and need to change.
The workforce is well trained and can rise to the challenge. Unfortunately, almost 50% of this group are ‘at risk’ and may become unavailable for work. Many employees will get sick and be away from their jobs for 14 days at a time.
The issue is therefore one of ensuring there the minimum number of workers is maintained to ensure the program is delivered and food stays on the shelves.
What are your real issues?
2. Simplify the issues in order to help everyone contribute to the way forward
What is it you can do to move in the right direction?
It’s so easy at this stage to get caught up with all the things you can’t do. As with all disruptions the first response when colleagues are asked to do something different to say it’s too hard to make changes. Now is the time to look for possible solutions. Throwing money at the project may not solve anything. Putting effort into actions which will make a difference must be the goal. Some may be difficult and require a different way of working. This means a new mindset.
Take restaurants as an example here. Their diners have deserted them. Regulars have been forced to eat at home rather than on their premises. They are well equipped to deliver meals to the masses but they have no mouths to feed. Their project has changed. Those quick to recognise their new role will be successful. If people can’t attend their favourite restaurant then how can the restaurant attend to people’s needs at home. The best teams understand their issues by thinking it better. Some have created new websites to market their food offer. New ways to distribute are being developed, like pick-up at the kerbside or home delivery. Radical new thinking may allow your business not only to survive but even to thrive.
There are simple things that you can do to change the current state. Focus on the steps that really matter to project progress. When you start to take those simple steps, the situation itself changes or certainly the perception of it alters. What are the simple steps you can take to make a difference?
Your project will be disrupted but timely adjustments to how you will achieve your goal can mean the goal will be achieved.
3. Act now
Not just coming up with a to do list. We’ve got to really understand why we are taking the action. What’s the point? What’s my reason? ‘What’s my why?’ for doing it?
Don’t do things which don’t make a difference. This is not the time for ‘nice to do’ actions or things which make us look good.
Underlying all actions are the people who are going to take these steps. Whatever issues you’ve identified, whatever simple steps you’ve agreed, you need to identify the right people to act. How do you inspire them to take a new approach to your project?
Super disruption needs a new approach
Thinking it better focuses on:
Understanding the real issues
Simplifying your response so you take actions that count
Take action by people who clearly understand why they are working differently